Sustainable Business and Investment

Foreign direct investment (FDI) has emerged as a principal source of financing for development and as such has been identified as a means of implementation of the sustainable development goals. FDI can also create employment, provide access to foreign markets and spread technologies and ideas. Growing FDI flows in Asia and the Pacific have helped boost regional integration and growth.

Business, as the principal driver of FDI, has played a central role in driving economic growth and innovation, while creating employment and generating income through skills development and productivity improvement. In particular, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for the vast majority of all enterprises in every country and provide for the bulk of employment but often face many constraints, including proper access to finance, markets, skills and technology. Forging effective linkages between SMEs and foreign investors help countries develop their business sector and the integration of their business in global and regional value chains.

With the focus on sustainable development, it is important that FDI and business development directly contribute to achieving the SDGs. Hence, ESCAP assists countries in attracting and facilitating FDI for sustainable and inclusive growth through capacity building and exchange of best practices, including through the Asia-Pacific FDI Network. In addition, ESCAP provides technical assistance to help governments formulate policies for a conducive business environment, encourage governments, companies and entrepreneurs to support the adoption of sustainable business practices. ESCAP also engages business as a partner in achieving sustainable development through the ESCAP Sustainable Business Network (ESBN) and its task forces and facilitates public and private sector dialogue through the Asia-Pacific Business Forum (APBF).